Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Comparison and Analysis of Macro-Structure Schematization of English and Persian Blurbs

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Comparison and Analysis of Macro-Structure Schematization of English and Persian Blurbs

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The study of textual and meta-textual specifications has been an interesting area of inquiry for long. Such studies which are carried out at two levels of micro-structures (linguistic features) and macrostructures (communicative moves), help identify the communicative intentions that are pursued by the experts in a particular discourse community and "thereby construct the rationale for the genre" (Swales, 1990, p. 58). One area of consideration with its own specific textual and meta-textual configurations and specific communicative specifications are blurbing.

Blurbs are generic-oriented texts with definite rhetorical structures which, according to Valor (2005, p. 41), are displayed on book covers and also on the internet to provide information about the content of books to potential readers. Valor states that blurbs have intertextual coherence that characterizes a specified genre with definite generic rules and rhetorical conventions such as complimenting, elliptical syntactic patterns, the imperative, the address form you, and curiosity arouser.

The study of blurb's characteristics has been the major concern of some studies in the area of text analysis. Douglas (2001) studied blurbs aiming at revealing the significance of autobiography. To this point, he analyzed three examples of contemporary autobiographical writings by British women: Once in a House on Fire (Ashworth 1999), Skating to Antarctica (Diski 1998), and Oranges Are not the Only Fruit (Winterson 1996). However, his study was limited to biographical parts rather than the overall structure of blurbs.

In another research, Byerly (2005) studied the generic structures of blurb of novels. He selected the blurbs on cover pages of his own published or unpublished romance stories, romantic suspense, science fiction, and fantasy, and proposed that for the description of short novels two paragraphs are sufficient but for longer novels three or four paragraphs are needed. Consequently, he concluded that each paragraph is assumed to focus on specific themes. Jerz (2004) studied the content of electronic blurbs and offered guidelines on how to write an acceptable and attractive blurb. He identified the shortcomings of the blurbs that he studied and offered clues to overcome their mistakes. Jerz concluded that blurbs should not recommend or urge readers to click the websites.

In a relatively comprehensive study, Valor (2005, p. 48) studied the blurbs of 60 electronic books of the best-known publishing and best-selling houses in today's English speaking market such as Penguine, Ballantine, Routledge, Barns, and Nobles. He only focused on electronic blurbs because of their convenient availability to potential readers, as well as persuasive function, which can constitute a new generic structure in the realm of advertisement, and introduced three moves: (1) description, (2) evaluation, (30 about the author.

In another research, Cronin and Barr (2005) studied non-fiction blurbs, focusing on two broad areas, i.e., business and history, in order to discover what areas have made greater use of blurbs. Findings showed that in history, the average (mean) blurb rate (i.e., number of blurbs per book) was 3.2 while in business it was 5.7. Therefore, they revealed that business books made greater use of blurbs than do history books.

Blurbs constitute structures and common features that help producers and readers to communicate efficiently and effectively; however, these generic-oriented structures have not been a focal area of inquiry among genre analysts. Except for valor's work, which considered the generic structures of blurbs and introduced their discoursal and linguistic conventions, other studies seem to have provided a full-fledged schematic paradigms for the analysis of blurbs' structures.

Although Valor's paradigm can be regarded as a systematic procedural scheme for analysis, it has its own limitations. Valor's study merely covered one discipline, i. …

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